The Unsaved Christian
"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV)
God wants us to have a relationship with Him. But what does this really mean?
Recently, I met a woman about my age at a conference where I was speaking. I don't know many details about her life but I do know she's been going to church for a long time.
And she's been serving, giving, and doing all the right church stuff.
But, something was missing.
"I never could quite put my finger on it until I heard your message," she whispered. "I never knew what it really meant to have a relationship with Jesus. But hearing you explain it, something clicked. I walked forward today. I gave my heart to Jesus."
I wondered: what part of what I shared made this profound click happen in her soul?
Of course, it was the Holy Spirit moving... but somehow in the midst of me sharing the broken places of my life, things came together in hers.
It got me thinking about us doing life together here through this daily devotion. Each day we spend a few minutes together over the internet learning how to navigate life as Jesus girls. But all that we talk about is for nothing if our hearts stay far from Jesus.
It's not about momentary motivation to make it through today.
It's not about spiffy quotes to ponder and put into practice.
It's not about relationship tactics and turnkey solutions.
It's not about bite-size pieces of peace to make life a little more manageable.
It's not about making our lives look and feel a little better.
It has to be about Jesus. And drawing our hearts into His reality. His grace. His love. His hope. His forgiveness. And most of all the free gift of salvation because of Him.
Have you ever felt like this woman who couldn't put her finger on what was missing? Have you ever felt like you bounce from one religious activity to the next, but your heart feels far from God? Sweet sister, can we chat?
God doesn't want us to have a religion. A religion is where we follow rules hoping to do life right, and serve God out of duty because we think we have to.
God wants us to have a relationship. A relationship where we follow Him. And we serve God not out of duty but out of delight because of the realization of who we are in Him.
For years, I went to church to get a little "God goodness" in my life. But it was like putting fresh paint on rotting wood. I was living just like those talked about in Isaiah 29:13, "The Lord says: 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.'"
I realized I didn't need to be just following the rules; I needed to be following God Himself.
I didn't need a little "God goodness" to rub off on me... I needed God to invade the deepest parts in me.
So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life... and started a relationship with Him by simply saying yes.
Yes, I am a sinner in need of a Savior.
Yes, I acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God, sent to die on a cross and be resurrected on the third day to save me from my sins.
Yes, I want Jesus to be the Lord and Master of my life.
Yes, I am now and forever will be a forgiven and saved child of the Almighty God.
Yes, I will follow Jesus today, tomorrow, and every other day I'm blessed with on this earth.
Oh sister, let me quiet the voice of Satan screaming to resist this process. He wants to trip you up by whispering how you won't be able to live this out perfectly. Jesus has never ever asked for us to be perfect. He simply wants us perfectly surrendered. I often pray, "Oh Jesus... I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me... help me... forgive me... reassure me... and pour Your tender mercy upon me."
And He does.
And He always will.
My imperfections are safely tucked within the reality of His perfection.
And I simply press on by continuing to say YES moment by imperfect moment... day by imperfect day.
Dear Lord, I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me... help me... forgive me... reassure me... and pour Your tender mercy upon me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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In this devotion I stated "So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life... and started a relationship with Him by simply saying yes." Think of simple ways you can say yes to God today. How would that look? Would that change the way you are living your life?
God wants us to have a relationship. A relationship where we follow Him. And we serve God not out of duty but out of delight because of the realization of who we are in Him. What does this look like? How can I serve Him today with a pure heart?
Psalm 53:2, "God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God." (NIV)
Mark 7:8, "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." (NIV)
© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105